Thursday, September 17, 2009
Adventures in Homebuying: The Decision
Well, I decided the other night that I am going to take the plunge. I'm going to buy a house.
My dad has been bugging me to buy a house for years telling me that renting is just "throwing your money away." And he is right...as usual. I kept putting it off because I really don't care much for the city & didn't really like living here & wanted to move back to Arkansas but I really think I was just running from myself & God. I don't think I would have been happy no matter where I was. Now my relationship with the Lord is back on the right track & I am genuinely happy. I have things I want to change in my life & longings but you always do. The joy that comes from Christ is different than from having all your wants & desires...but I digress. So, after living here for 5 yrs I have decided to take that enormously frightening step into home-ownership & hope I don't crash & burn.
So how did I just decide all of a sudden? I'm glad you asked...Ms/Mr. Nosy...
Well, every year about this time (& usually just after the New Year) I get the itch to start looking. I usually get scared & blow it off but this year I decided it was time to quite playing & do this thing. Actually, I really hadn't thought much about it lately. I knew that my lease was coming up for renewal pretty soon but I really hadn't thought of what I was going to do. I knew that I really didn't want to stay here in this apartment another year but I have very little money saved up (at least not as much as I have always planed on) due to me not living as frugally as I should (I'm working on that & actually I have done a lot better...with a few exceptions).
Anyway, lately the weather has been quite nice so I have been skipping the gym & taking advantage of the nice weather & walking the neighborhood across the street from my apartment. (I've also had a cough for the last month & didn't want to do anything too vigorous to get me into a coughing fit...I do plan on starting back to running sometime soon.) One day a couple of weeks ago I walked by one house & noticed a "For Sale By Owner" sign & decided to take one of their flyers out of the old Pringles/Stacked Lays canister. They were asking a reasonable price for my neighborhood & that is what sparked the idea.
Now, don't get excited, I probably won't purchase this particular house. The asking price is still a bit out of my max price zone & they have a pool. While I would absolutely love a pool & probably use it quite a bit, pools always raise your electricity, water, & insurance rates, not to mention the price of upkeep (chemicals, cleaning, replacing pumps, etc). I still want a pool but I'm really going to have to watch what I spend for the next few years. Now if I could attract me some rich young man, things might change but until then, it's Ramen Noodles & Velveeta. Well, maybe not that extreme but still...can't be careless.
The final push that made me decide was that I finally got my new lease agreement & noticed they had gone up on my rent again & while I expected it, seeing the actual number they were going to be charging me, ticked me off for some reason & I said that was it, I am buying. :)
Really, there is no reason for me not to buy right now & with that $8000 tax credit that they are offering right now, it would kind of be stupid not to...at least for me. So, this morning I met with a realtor & a mortgage broker to see what I can afford & get things moving. The tax credit thing ends at the end of November along with my lease so we have to get the ball rolling. The broker told me I was in good shape & can afford what I was thinking I could afford & maybe slightly more (but not too much). Now I've just got to get my paperwork together for him & sign the other paperwork for the realtor & get this show on the road.
Now I'm freaking out a bit. What am I getting myself into? Am I making a terrible mistake? What if I get careless with my money & mess up big time? What if this is my will & not the Lords?
People who make less than me, have much worse credit, tons of debt &/or loans buy houses everyday, why am I freaking out so much? If they can do this, then surly I can too.
I think the a one of the big stressors for me is in order to be in a safe neighborhood, I am going to have to be willing to spend a little bit more &/or maybe live a little further out. The living a little further out actually would be nice...at least in the areas that I would consider. I grew up in the country & for 4 years drove 45 min one way twice a day so adding 5 mins onto already 5-10 min commute would be nothing. Plus, moving a little further out gets me away from so much city like life & two of my closest friends live in or at least closer to the area I am referring to, so that would be nice too.
Another stressor is being I'm a single income really restricts you on how much you can spend & if something happens, I'm it. Eek!
Another is that I really want my parents to like the place I pick out but being limited with budget & time means that (1) I may not get as big of a house my dad would like to see me in & (2) it may not have some of the features that would really be nice such as a back or side facing garage. My did really does not like the garage facing the street & with good reason & I also agree but it is actually pretty rare to find houses like that. Also, I do not care for a fire place. They take up wall space & I doubt I would use it enough to get any worth out of it but for some really strange reason, almost every house in this area have a fireplace. We're in Texas people! Of course I may change my mind when the electricity goes out during an ice storm . LOL
Ok well, I would talk more but this is already long enough & I've been up over 24 hrs now & I've got to clean house tomorrow so I am heading to bed. Pray for me, guys. I really need guidance, wisdom, peace, & self-discipline/restraint.